Can we dare to hope that tourism at last taking off as a viable industry in Samoa?
Is the country formerly tagged ‘the best kept secret’ in the southern Pacific, a secret no more?
And how has all this come about?
While many sections of the tourism and hospitality industry will be clamouring to claim responsibility for the growth and success it appears that many factors are coming together to make this happen.
And while this success story is not totally based on statistics because most of us have a mistrust of figures that have been presented to us in the past, it is hard to ignore what your eyes are telling you.
Samoa looks as though it is on its way to beginning to achieve its potential in tourism.
On Saturday night, the inaugural Samoa Tourism Excellence Awards 2017 were presented by the Samoa Tourism Authority at one of Samoa’s newest jewels, the stunning Taumeasina Island Resort.
With awards sponsored by local companies that covered many of the services and businesses related to the hospitality industry, the message was clear.
The success or failure of tourism rests in many hands.
Twelve prizes were awarded for the best car rentals, taxis, uniforms, airport transfers, bars, cultural entertainment, tour operators, attraction sites, restaurants, hygiene, accommodation and the paramount award, the National Tourism Excellence Award.
And while the complete list of winners will be in tomorrow’s edition of the Samoa Observer, our initial congratulations go out to Sea Breeze Resort owners and staff for taking out the National Tourism Excellence Award and also for picking up the Best Accommodation Award.
As a previous four-time winner of the 23rd World Travel Award as Samoa’s Leading Hotel, Sea Breeze owner Chris Booth attributed their success to hard work and getting up every day and doing your best.
“...the harder you work, the luckier you get,” he quipped
In accepting the two awards, Chris fittingly paid tribute to his wife Wendy and his team of 30 staff.
And while the food, accommodation, ambience and scenery are all important requirements for tourists, a recent, informal survey carried out by Samoa Observer reporters, found that overwhelmingly, visitors cited the friendliness of Samoans as the main success factor of their visit.
And it was also the reason why they said they would come back.